Posts Tagged ‘K-12 education’

Back-to-School with the Delta Variant

September 9, 2021


It’s Back-to-School time in America, but this year that doesn’t just mean pencil cases, it aslo means cases of Pediatric COVID-19, 250,000 in the last week. Kids in low-vaccination states are getting infected at greater rates. Emergency Room visits and hospital admissions in the states with the lowest vaccination coverage were 3.4 and 3.7 times higher than in states with the highest vaccination rates. Children’s hospitals are at or near capacity and asking for federal assistance. For the most recent reporting period, infections among children account for 22.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases. That’s 204,000 infected kids in a week.

Even though most parents favor mask-wearing in schools, nine states prohibit school districts from setting mask requirements: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Over 1,000 schools have closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks since late July.

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Alabama Ends School Yoga Ban

May 26, 2021

Alabama Ends School Yoga Ban

“Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a bill to allow public schools to offer yoga, ending a ban that stood for nearly 30 years. Christian conservatives who back the ban said yoga would open the door for people to be converted to Hinduism.

The new law allows yoga to be offered as an elective for grades K-12. While it erases a ban that, over the years, some schools had not realized existed, it also imposes restrictions on how yoga should be taught. Students won’t be allowed to say, ‘Namaste,’ for instance. Meditation is not allowed.

‘Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited,’ the bill states. It also requires English names be used for all poses and exercises. And before any students try a tree pose, they’ll need a parent’s permission slip.”

— “Alabama Will Now Allow Yoga In Its Public Schools (But Students Can’t Say ‘Namaste’),” Bill Chappell, NPR News

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Image (“Zoom Yoga, after a 19th century Joga Pradīpikā manuscript”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Alabama Doesn’t Decriminalize School Yoga

April 20, 2021
Alabama Doesn't Decriminalize School Yoga

Zoom Yoga Lesson

In 1993 the state of Alabama outlawed yoga classes in public schools, fearing the exercizes would turn young Christian children into Hindus. School regulations specifically prohibit use of the greeting “Namaste.” If only students had started class by saying “How-do, y’all ….”

State Rep. Jeremy Gray, who also teaches Yoga, recently introduced a bill to legalize K-12 Yoga, and the Alabama House of Representatives approved it last month. The bill went to Alabama’s upper house, but state senators upheld the ban.

More:

“Alabama fails to reverse ban on school yoga as conservatives say they fear rise in Hinduism,” Akshita Jain, The Independent

“Yoga can leave you injured, psychotic and a Hindu, Christian groups claim,” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

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Image (“Zoom Yoga, after a 19th century Joga Pradīpikā manuscript”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

K-12 in 2020: Virtual Active-Shooter Drills

December 28, 2020

K-12 in 2020: Virtual Active-Shooter Drills

In the pandemic year of 2020, children’s homes became their classrooms as America’s K-12 education went online. The curriculum included school active-shooter drills, required by law in most states. Lesson objective: in America’s gun culture, even your kitchen table isn’t safe. Will this be on the test?

More:

“Active-Shooter Drills Look Pretty Weird Over Zoom,” Monica Chin, The Verge

“School Shooting Drills Have Gone Virtual,” Dan Kois, Slate

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Back-to-School Special: COVID-19

November 4, 2020

Back-to-School Special: COVID-19

Strained by managing on-line schooling and providing their own daytime childcare during this pandemic, many parents favor in-person schooling for their offspring. After all, the president says it’s safe, right?

The facts say otherwise. Last week, more than 61,000 American children caught the novel coronavirus, the highest weekly increase since the start of the pandemic. So far, 853,000 children in the U.S. have contracted the disease since the outbreak began, and a third of them needed ICU hospitalization. From February though July, at least 121 children have died. Long-term effects of COVID-19 infection in children are suspected.

More:

“More than 61,000 children got Covid-19 last week, a record,” Erika Edwards, NBC News

“Cases of Covid-19 in children on rise, with highest 1-week spike yet,” Sandee LaMotte, CNN

Related:

“I’m Scared to Death’: How Teachers Feel About COVID-19 School Safety,” Healthline

“Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness Among Teachers and Adults Living With School-Aged Children,” Adam W. Gaffney, MD, MPH, David Himmelstein, MD, and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, Annals of Internal Medicine

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Trump Administration Back-to-School Special

October 6, 2020

Trump Administration Back-to-School Special
This summer, White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to play down the risk of sending children back to school. White House Coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah L. Birx, and Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, and Paul Alexander, a senior adviser to HHS assistant secretary Michael Caputo, tried to get CDC scientists to downplay the danger of COVID-19 to children, teenagers, and young adults in a political effort to get schools to reopen.

More:

“Behind the White House Effort to Pressure the C.D.C. on School Openings,” Mark Mazzetti, Noah Weiland and Sharon LaFraniere, New York Times

“Trump official pressured CDC to change report on Covid and kids,” Dan Diamond, Politico

“We Can’t Allow the CDC to Be Tainted by Politics,” Richard E. Besser, Scientific American

Related:

“COVID-19 Cases Rising Among U.S. Children as Schools Reopen,” AP via Education Week

“‘Children have become acceptable carnage,’” Andrew Atterbury, Nicole Gaudiano, Mackenzie Mays, Juan Perez Jr., and Madina Touré, Politico

“Children’s role in spread of virus bigger than thought,” The Harvard Gazette

“10 facts about school reopenings in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Anna North, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Mommy’s Little Virus Vector

October 2, 2020

Mommy's Little Virus Vector

There are  56 million K-12 students in the United States, and school districts, politicians, some and parents are anxious for them to get back to schoolrooms and off the kitchen table virtual classroom. But information on COVID-19 in children is just coming to light, and attempts at safely re-opening schools have been spotty and uneven.

Though Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other Trump idolators prefer to operate in the absence of facts, a new study of 85,000 people with COVID-19 and their 575,000 contacts found that children contract and transmit the coronavirus as frequently as their elders. That means kids, especially the super-spreaders among them, can infect each other, their teachers, and their parents and caregivers. Teachers, understandably, are concerned. And while infected children are less likely to suffer fatalities, there appear to be long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection.

Until September, child sacrifice in the U.S. was a weird QAnon conspiracy theory. Opening schools in a pandemic without real planning makes it reality.

More:

“COVID-19 Cases Rising Among U.S. Children as Schools Reopen,” AP via Education Week

“‘Children have become acceptable carnage,’” Andrew Atterbury, Nicole Gaudiano, Mackenzie Mays, Juan Perez Jr., and Madina Touré, Politico

“Children’s role in spread of virus bigger than thought,” The Harvard Gazette

“10 facts about school reopenings in the Covid-19 pandemic,” Anna North, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Teaching in America doesn’t have to be this tough.

March 10, 2020

Teachers in America have a much tougher job than their peers in other developed countries, like Sweden (which is mispelled in this video- oops). A Vox video by Liz Scheltens.

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Florida (of course): Give Teachers Guns

January 9, 2019

Florida (of course): Give Teachers Guns

Florida’s “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission,” largely composed of Sunshine State political hacks, submitted a report urging the arming of public school teachers. What could possibly go wrong?

More:

“Parkland safety commission’s solution to prevent school shootings? More guns in schools.” Tess Owen, VICE News

“Parkland commission recommends teachers be allowed to carry guns,”Jamiles Lartey, The Guardian

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School Days

November 7, 2018

More:

“The Curse of America’s Illogical School-Day Schedule,” Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic

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